Photo by Eric Pamies
Patti Fucking Smith. This year’s lineup was thick with veterans, gigantic goliaths from their respective genres, but for all the space for musical epiphanies that Primavera Sound 2015 provided, the most powerful revelation arrived when Patti Smith took the stage. There are few experiences in life quite like witnessing her live. It’s not just that she performed her classic album, Horses, that had tears leaking from so many attendees’ eyes. For most, it was simply the devastatingly emotional fact that they were able to see the near-mythical Patti Smith and her merry men perform these 40-year-old songs live, a possibility that seemed farfetched a few years ago.
With her hand clutching her heart before she began, the devastating combo of “Gloria” and “Redondo Beach” — two poignant, beautiful songs about heartbreak and rebellion — tore through the crowd. But it wasn’t just the uninhibited cathartic energy expelled by Smith. What made it was the enigmatic nature of her very being, the fact that she’s so utterly individual and non-traditional but at the same time put on this earth to create something collective, willing you into this world with her. “He’s been riding these fucking horses for 40 years people! We are all Johnny,” she screams at one point, then spits on the stage. “We are being fucked by the government, we are free people, and we want the world, and we want it now!”
Grabbing her guitar, raising it to the sky, she shouts, “Behold! The best weapon of our generation!” The screams were deafening, with Smith transcending, god-like, decreeing, “I haven’t fucked much with the past, but I’ve fucked with the future. You will decide what happens to our children, our land, rock and roll. You are the future and the future is now!” Suffice it to say, we lost our shit and are forever changed by Patti Fucking Smith. –Lior Phillips